The region of Primorska begins in the Julian Alps and covers Western Slovenia to the southern border at the Mediterranean. It might be one of the most diverse areas of Slovenia with so many things to do you can easily spend several weeks in just this region. You can start your morning driving through the Alps and end it watching the sunset over a plate of fresh-made pasta in Piran.
The other added bonus to visiting Western Slovenia is that all of these activities are easily done by a day trip from Ljubljana. They are also closely located to Croatia, Italy, and Austria so they are a perfect fit for your European itinerary. Don’t forget to check out my Wandering Ljubljana Guide. If you sign up for my newsletter you will receive a free 26-page travel guide to Ljubljana with exclusive information.
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Wine tasting in Goriška Brda
Goriška Brda is a small region that sits along the border with Italy and is best known for its wine. Here you can climb the Gonjače Viewing Tower where you’ll be surrounded by beautiful vineyards. Within view is Šmartno, a medieval walled town that is a cultural monument. Read more about what to do and see in Goriška Brda and my personal restaurant recommendation with all local ingredients and wine.
Taste Karst Prosciutto in Kras
I recently shared a trip I took to a pršutarna (where they make prosciutto) in the Kras region of Primorska. Because of the unique and unforgiving karst landscape and burja wind they are able to traditionally air-dry prosciutto (pršut in Slovene). This landscape also allows for the Slovenian famous Teran wine to be grown.
Drive on the highest road in Slovenia to Mangart
The highest road in Slovenia is one of the most incredible and challenging drives you can find. A road leads you up almost all the way to the third highest mountain in Slovenia, Mangart. The road ends (currently) at Mangart Saddle which is a feature of this mountain and where you can find the Mangart Saddle Lodge. From here you can hike for a couple of hours to reach the peak!
Do adventure sports on the Soča River
The Soča River is famous for its stunning color but it is also the perfect place for adventure sports and activities. In fact, I did my first ever canyoning in Bovec. Here you can also find adventure parks, zip lines, white water rafting, paragliding, kayaking, and pretty much anything you can imagine.
Try local and award-winning foods in Istria
One of the best parts of visiting Primorska, and I mean from the top to the bottom from the east to the west, is the food. Some of the best food in the whole country can be found here. In Istria, truffles are like gold and a key ingredient in a popular dish from this region, fuži s tartufi (pasta with truffles). Here they also have olive trees and produce award-winning and Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) extra virgin olive oil. And to top off your dishes, in Istria is where they have traditional salt pans.
Visit traditional salt pans at Sečovlje Salina Nature ParkThe Sečovlje Salt Pans is one of the last remaining places to use traditional methods in salt production. They have large pools where water is evaporated leaving just the salt. The nature park has also become an important wetland for breeding waterbirds.
Learn about the dark history of KobaridKobarid is known for the battles that took place between the Italians and Austrian-Hungarian Empire during WWI. The town has a complex history as it was annexed to Italy in 1919, taken by anti-fascist Slovenes in 1943, the Nazis in 1943, US and British rule in 1945, and finally returned to Slovenia, at that time Yugoslavia, in 1947. A museum in Kobarid focuses on WWI and the very unfortunate battles that took place. There is a military ossuary with the remains of over 7000 Italian soldiers which is a point of interest for many.
See the famous Lipizzaner horses in LipicaLipizzaner horses are a very popular tourist attraction in Slovenia. Lipica is home of the Lipcia Stud Farm. It is here where the original Lipizzaner horses can be traced to a single stud (male horse) who was mixed with others to create the horse we know today. At the Lipica Stud Farm, you can see the horses, ride them, and see them perform.
Visit the Slovenian Riviera
What is Primorska without the Slovenian Riviera? Don’t let the small size fool you. Sharing borders with Italy and Croatia, and coming in at only 46.6 km (29 miles) long, it surely isn’t the largest coastline in the world. But just like Slovenia, special things come in small packages and for those willing to give it a chance. Koper, Izola, Piran, and Portorož are the most popular sights. Piran is my personal favorite you can read why here.
Explore Postojna and Škocjan Caves
Postojna and Škocjan Caves are two vastly popular sights in Slovenia and for good reason. Postojna Cave (Postojnska jama) is an important cave to speleology (the scientific study of caves) and is famous for its olms, an aquatic cave-dwelling salamander. Škocjan Cave (Škocjanske jame) is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most important caves in the world. It also contains the world’s largest known underground canyon in the world.
See the Danse Macabre at Hrastovlje
A stone church with a tall wall around it, built to protect from the Turks, is known for what was hidden inside. The Holy Trinity Church has Gothic frescos that were completed in 1490, they were covered in plaster at some point, and then rediscovered in 1949. The Danse Macabre, Dance of Death, is almost perfectly preserved and is a famous painting popular during the Middle Ages depicting death. You can also see Glagolitic script on the walls which is a very early Slavic writing system.
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